Council chiefs rule out HGV ban when tram starts

HGVs must find routes around Shandwick Place when the tram starts
HGVs must find routes around Shandwick Place when the tram starts
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Transport chiefs have ruled out a ban on lorries in parts of the city centre.

City council officials agreed last year to investigate whether a ban on heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in the West End and New Town could help alleviate the amount of disturbance caused for local residents by noisy traffic when the tram is up and running.

But officials have now rejected the proposal for an HGV ban as they say there would be no way of enforcing it.

The concerns mainly related to streets such as Randolph Crescent and Charlotte Square, where residents are unable to fit double glazing because their properties are listed.

Local representatives say the proposal, designed to counter the impact of traffic moving on to other streets when the tram becomes operational in Shandwick Place and Princes Street, has never been taken seriously enough by council chiefs.

City centre councillor Joanna Mowat said: “I am disappointed because I’ve been talking about this since 2008. There seems to be an unwillingness from the council and officers say it will be difficult to enforce.

“There seems to be a resistance from the council; it’s like Doctor Dolittle’s Pushmi- pullyu. They keep saying they will look at it then they keep coming back and saying no.

“These are listed buildings and they can’t put in double glazing but this area will become busy with traffic.

“I think it’s time we did something about it because it is a big priority for them.”

The concerns relate to the impact of traffic being moved towards quieter streets residents say are not designed to deal with heavy traffic.

In a letter to the city council, the Moray Feu Traffic Sub-committee said: “The removal of HGV and long-distance bus traffic transiting the Feu is considered of the utmost priority.

“These heavy diesel-engined vehicles, which first appeared after the February 2008 closure of Shandwick Place, are seen as constituting a serious health risk to residents.”

But a council report due to be considered by councillors on Tuesday said that an HGV ban “cannot be recommended” because police say it would have to be “self-enforcing”.

The report also ruled out suggestions to provide a direct route between Queensferry Street and Lothian Road, and allow a right-hand turn from Shandwick Place on to Lothian Road, while sticking by a previous decision to close Glenfinlas Street.

City leaders say a decision to allow general traffic to use Shandwick Place between 8pm and 7am when the tram is operational will reduce the problem. Cllr Gordon Mackenzie, the city’s transport leader, said: “We share residents’ desire to minimise the impact of through traffic. The idea of an HGV ban was considered by committee back in May 2009 which, having taken on board police advice, concluded that the proposal was not appropriate.

“The police’s position has not changed but, thanks to the decision to relax restrictions on Shandwick Place, there is the prospect noise will reduce when the tram is running.”